In 2011, Image Comics held their first ever expo in Oakland, California, bringing together the founders, artists, and writers of their creator-owned properties. I can still pinpoint that expo as the first day I fell in love with Image Comics. Yes, The Walking Dead had won the hearts of many but thanks to this expo and meeting an awesome Image Comics advocate and fellow volunteer, Mark, I jumped headfirst into the world of Image Comics and the awesome stories they were creating and sharing.
Fast forward to now, and after many instances of coaxing and suggestions from my coworker, Jason, I finally sat down to read Alex+Ada by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna. As a side note, thanks to Amazon’s ComiXology service, I was able to read Volume 1 and 2 pretty easily on my iPad Mini. I couldn’t put this book down! I read volume 1 within an hour and volume 2 in half that time. This book is amazing, and I still haven’t finished volume 3 and the end of my the series yet!
I’m not going to include spoilers in this review but will set up the premise in hopes you pick up the book yourself (the complete series can be purchased in hardcover on Amazon)! As the title states, the story revolves around Alex and Ada. We first are introduced to Alex in a very creative way; his normal day-to-day routine. There wasn’t much coming dialogue in the first few pages and it definitely sets up intrigue and mystery about his character. As the story progresses, I really enjoyed the subtle ways Sarah Vaughn reveals the complexity of Alex’s character. We see him go through a variety of emotions in a short timespan and it is masterfully portrayed visually by Jonathan Luna’s amazing art.
Jonathan Luna’s art adds to the story but it doesn’t overpower the words. The partnership and balance between story and art is weaved so perfectly that it’s seamless and I found myself really focusing on the character and this world. And that’s another great thing this creative team has done, provide hints of this world not only through the art but the dialogue and how the characters interact with each other. The world isn’t totally different than our modern day world but there are slight differences that make the impact of the story actually more real.
I felt the story could have been real and it actually frightened me to the point that this could have been a story in the newspaper. But the story is still very character driven and those stories are what I prefer. Sarah Vaughn does a very good job making me feel what the characters feel, especially the robot, Ada.
Ada’s character is amazing and done in a way that is familiar but different at the same time. Ada is a robot gifted to Alex by his grandmother who didn’t want a robot in the first place. As the story progresses from Alex opening up Ada’s box and activating her, Alex’s world is turned upside down. What’s really telling is the way the story and art reveal this AI involved world not only through the example of robots but through self-driving cars, telephone receivers installed in the human’s heads, and the strong stance on the robot caused massacre that happened in the very real Bay Area city of Sunnyvale, California. I think my description of this world doesn’t do the story justice because I learned all of this as the story progressed. And to me, it’s brilliantly done by Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna.
If you’re looking for a great story, rooted in reality, then pick up this Image Comics book. I read a lot of comics, mostly digitally. And the real gauge for me as a comic fan is what I ultimately decide to purchase. As a dad living in the Bay Area / Silicon Valley, space for housing comic books and trade paperbacks is limited. But I would buy this comic in a heartbeat to place on my comic bookshelf (and I have, thanks Amazon)! Aside from the science fiction and technology elements, this is just a great story about human perceptions, complex emotions, and the journey that Alex and Ada go through in this fleshed out world that Vaughn and Luna serve up to us in a great way.
Go pick it up today! You won’t regret it!
*ALL IMAGES WERE FOUND VIA GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH
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